Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An impromptu visit to Monterey Bay

Mrs Notthat got home from a punishing week at some resort near Cancun late Thursday night. I felt a tiny bit guilty signing her up for a potentially wet and muddy trail race on Saturday, but then she topped me. "How would you feel about driving down to Monterey after the mud run so I can run the Big Sur Half Marathon?"

We've been married for nearly 30 years now, so you would think this sort of thing wouldn't surprise me anymore, but it still does. She likes to travel, and given a shot at running the race, there was no way she would miss it.

We arrived a bit after dark, checked into our motel, then headed out to do some carbo loading. I found a parking spot, we got out, and the first place we saw was a Korean restaurant. They had noodles, so it worked out fine. (A bit scarily for a Saturday night with thousands of hungry people in town for a big race, the place was empty. Maybe Korean food isn't such a popular pre-race meal after all.)

Not actually a group of homeless people, but fine-tuned athletes trying to look like dorks. Warm dorks, to be sure, but still, dorks.
Weird Haired Mom and a friend of hers were also running the race and staying at the same motel as us. We stood around waiting for a fourth runner, who turned out to be a bit challenged navigating the mean streets of Monterey at six in the morning.

Haiyr (not her real name) eventually found us and we all wandered down to the start line. It's nice being able to walk to the start/finish line.

When we went to bed, the forecast emphatically said it would rain all morning. We felt like we had dodged a bullet at China Camp, weather-wise, so we were OK with having to deal with some rain for this race.

Except (I hope you are sitting down) it turns out the forecasters were wrong. Not only did it not rain, there turned out to be a brisk market for sunscreen along the course.

I love how Mrs Notthat nearly cold-cocked that guy when she waved to me.

After watching the runners at the 1.5 mile point, I moved over to watch them come in at the 12.95 mile point. Seriously - the sunshine was nearly lethal!

You can see a lot more pictures I took during the race here.

The grandkids fooling around with running shoes. They are maybe taking the loose fit rule to an extreme.
The night before the race, we decided to go ahead and stay a bonus night. That meant we could calmly walk to the room after the race, shower, and have a nice relaxing evening.

But before that could happen, WHM and her friend Arik (not her real name) and half a dozen kids all followed us to our room and showered (Mr WHM bravely stole a bunch of towels off the maid's cart - don't tell him but he actually grabbed a bunch of bath mats).

The ocean view from our room. It actually was not bad. Especially since it wasn't raining.

Eventually everyone was showered, fed, put into proper shoes, and pointed in the direction of home. Mrs Notthat and I decided to have an early dinner at a place called the Alvarado Seafood and Steak House (it was awesome!). In a day filled with surprises, Anrol (not her real name either) was also staying over a bonus night, and joined us for dinner. (It turned out she was staying in the same motel as us, but a different building. How could we not have known this?)

Monterey has two piers; one that is aimed at tourists ("Oh look mommy! 400 flavors of saltwater taffy! And Hello Kitty! And is that a mime? And…") and the other that is for normal people. Etep and Nire (not their real names, but not bad) who also stayed over suggested we eat at Loulous on the real pier.

You have got to love a cafe that makes pancakes the size of a Buick while at the same time filling all your bait and tackle needs. Honestly, it was maybe the best meal we had the whole trip.

Heading back from Loulous. That's the real pier in the background.
That's the tourist pier off to the left.

What a difference a day makes. This was the finish area yesterday for the 6500 or so runners that ran the race. The only evidence was the top off of a GU packet.

Eventually it was time to hit the road. We made three shopping stops along the way home ("Sigh. Yes, we pass by the Gilroy Outlets. I guess. If we have to.")

One fun stop was at Zombie Runners where Mrs Notthat got a new pair of Hokas.

We also stopped at Icebreakers in Santana Row in San Jose to pick up our free shirts, courtesy of ITR and the China Camp race.

OK - the shopping wasn't all that bad and we still got home at a decent time. But this is the lasting image of the trip.

Mrs Notthat, fresh off her week of teasing Mexican cabana boys, returned to run two consecutive Half Marathons. And could have run a third. She has informed me that we will be signing up early for this race next year (apparently there are a few jaw-dropping views along the course).

And the thing is, I really do like salt water taffy.

That's it - move along…

PS: A Massive THANKS to Nahgem (not her real name) for making this weekend possible! You know what you did, and we will get even somehow.


Meghan said...

haha I was happy to! I look forward to the revenge :p

DAK said...

Haiyr (not her real name) is the first person whose name I still can't pronounce when I read it backwards or forwards. I really enjoyed this post.

mary ann said...

what a great weekend and it is sooooo beautiful there!